Let’s say we started explaining the nuances of our newest feature or the details of our pricing plan to someone who has never heard of chatbots. Odds are they wouldn’t be too interested.

Trying to sell to someone who doesn’t know what your product is or why they need it won’t go well. Instead, a sale is the result of a prospect learning what your product is and what it can do for them, and then deciding to buy.

As the merchant, it’s your job to help move prospects through these stages by providing the right information at the right time. In other words, understand and cater to your buyer’s journey to get more conversions.

Designing a strategy to give shoppers what they need to move along the journey is no easy feat. Buyers today have the opportunity to be more educated than ever, with a world of information at their fingertips. How they’ll progress towards a purchase is less predictable and less linear than ever.

➡️ That’s why tools that focus on personalization and timeliness are especially helpful in moving modern buyers along towards conversion. If you can speak to their needs on their time, wherever they are, you’ll be better able to encourage a purchase.

Why use a Messenger bot to guide the buyer’s journey

A Facebook Messenger chatbot makes an ideal companion for shoppers as they move through the journey to a purchase, because:

  • They’re personalized. A bot can greet the user by name, answer specific questions, share specs and details about a particular product they’re interested in, and even make custom recommendations. They help prevent users from getting stuck due to a lack of information.
  • They’re instant and flexible. The top reason people shop online is because they can do it any day, at any time. Make a shopper wait until opening hours to get information or answers, and you’ll likely lose their business. Chatbots can provide instant service and guidance, 24/7/365, on Facebook or on your website.

A Messenger bot can serve the same purpose as a sales associate in a brick-and-mortar store. They’re there to help when needed, and they can tailor their suggestions to each individual shopper. The end goal of the bot and the associate is the same: provide prospects with the service and information they need at every stage to ultimately make a purchase.

So the buyer’s journey with a chatbot looks like this:

  1. Attract. Every buyer’s journey methodology starts with simply getting people’s attention. Pique their interest. Get them to take notice of your products and the pain points they solve. Get them to the bot so the next stage can begin.
  2. Interact. Once a prospect has shown interest, it’s your chatbot’s time to shine. This stage is where it can interact with shoppers like an in-person sales associate would: offering that personalized service to move prospects toward a purchase decision.
  3. Bring back. A human sales associate won’t chase you out the door if you leave a store without buying. But a chatbot can easily reengage and bring back a shopper who abandons their cart. A bot can also incentivize past customers to come back and buy from you again.

Read on for a more detailed explanation of these three stages, plus actionable ideas on using your bot to guide potential buyers through them.

Attract: Use a bot to introduce your brand to prospects

In this first phase of the journey, a chatbot can act as your brand’s ambassador. Set it up to draw shoppers in, welcome them, and let them know what your store has to offer. You can attract new prospects by:

🔗Linking your chatbot to your ads. You could direct users who click on your Facebook ads straight to your store website to browse on their own. Or, you could direct them to your bot first for an engaging welcome experience, thanks to click- to-Messenger ads. Once there, the bot can Interact with the prospect to help prompt a purchase—discussed more in the next section.

🙋‍♀️Getting leads from Facebook campaigns. Make giveaways and contests lots more effective by linking them to a bot. Next time you announce one of these campaigns on your Facebook page, use this Chatfuel tool to have your bot automatically message commenters. It’s an opportunity to create an engaging post that touches on the benefits of your product(s), and sets your bot up to swoop in and nurture those who expressed interest.

💻Setting your bot to appear on your website. If a shopper gets to your store on their own, you can still use a bot to welcome and orient them. With Chatfuel’s Customer Chat plugin, you can set your bot to pop up on your website and offer to help. It gives you the chance to hook users and keep them interested so they’ll continue shopping.

You can set your chatbot to appear in a chat window on your website.

After a user arrives at your bot and responds at least once, they become a reachable subscriber. This means you’ll be able to send them promotional messages for the next 24 hours. Once that window opens, your bot can get to work helping the user make their decision in the Interact phase.  

Interact: Use a bot to help shoppers make decisions and buy

By this point, you’ve got the shopper on the hook. A chatbot can help make sure you move them through to checkout. This stage is your chance to educate shoppers before sending them through to your website, primed and prepared to buy. Your chatbot can do this by:

👍Making product recommendations. The better you can demonstrate that your product(s) solve a prospect’s pain point, the more likely they are to buy. So instead of leaving a shopper to their own devices to find the right item, you can use your bot to give recommendations—just like a human sales associate could. It can ask users questions about their needs or preferences, then suggest the right products for them. This feature is ideal for brands that offer:

  • many similar products (like shoes for their gender, occasion, style, and size)
  • products where the buyer has to choose several different aspects of a product (like a smartphone’s brand, capacity, color, camera quality.)
  • products where the customer needs the exact right version for it to be useful (like windshield wipers for their particular car’s make, model, and year)
An outdoors-supply store with several types of tents in stock could set up their bot to make recommendations based on the shopper’s needs.

📱Fetching detailed product information. If your product catalog is large and/or you sell technical products, you can set up your bot to share details about your items. The Google Site Search plugin lets the bot fetch product information from your website in real time. It’s an easier, more interactive way for users to learn about your offerings and compare options.

Answering questions. Not being able to find the information you need as a shopper can be extremely frustrating. To avoid this scenario, you can design your bot to answer user questions about your brand, products, or policies on the spot. A well-built chatbot can handle up to 80% of routine inquiries, saving your team time and providing that instant, helpful service. Set it up with answers to FAQs, or use AI rules so it can respond to a wider range of question types.

Set up your bot to answer user questions, so buyers don’t get stuck in their journey due to a lack of information.

👩‍💻Connecting users to a human. If your bot comes across a user with a super-specific or complicated query, it can easily pass the conversation along to a live agent via our Live Chat plugin. That way, you don’t risk losing a potential customer because they got frustrated at not getting the proper help.

Bring back: Use a bot to get shoppers to return to your store

Despite you and your bot’s best efforts, shoppers abandoning carts are a fact of life for ecommerce merchants. While you can’t completely stop it from happening, you can use a bot to help reverse it by:

🛒 Setting up abandoned-cart reminders. Chatfuel’s Shopify app lets you set up automatic abandoned-cart remindersvia chatbot in three clicks. Just link your store, design a website opt-in, and craft your messages. From there, the app can help you start recovering up to 7x more abandoned-cart revenue.😱

Finally, you can use your chatbot to bring back past customers to buy with you again. Encourage them to return to your store by:

📨 Sending sponsored messages. Sponsored messages are a paid Facebook ad placement in the form of a message. Use them to send promotional content via chatbot to subscribers, even outside Facebook’s 24-hour contact window. Include something enticing to motivate them to come back. For example, you could send:

  • Coupon codes for a discount or free shipping on their next purchase
  • The exciting benefits of your loyalty program, and encourage them to sign up
  • An announcement about a major sale you're having

Use a bot to accompany your shoppers all the way to checkout

A chatbot can serve as a helpful, always-available virtual sales assistant to earn your store  more conversions. Learn the basics of bot-building on our easy-to-use, no-code platform. Join our Facebook community of global bot builders for advice, then learn more about building your ecommerce business with a bot.